O N E
Warning: This book contacts mature content. It is not a sweet romance.
It was 3am on a warm Monday morning. Rose Chambers grumbled as she smacked the blaring alarm clock on her night stand, her eyes barely opening. She laid still for another minute or two before gradually sitting up. She sat at the edge of the bed and stretched her limbs as she yawned, forcing herself to wake up. Today was the first day of her new job. She needed to be at CNC bank at 4am sharp. The manager wanted to go over the basics before the day started, then she would shadow the assistant manager for the rest of the day. Rose’s stomach churned with excitement and nerves.
With a sigh, she stood up and walked toward the bathroom. She had showered the night before and laid out an outfit to speed up her morning routine. First, she brushed her teeth and washed her face, then she straightened her hair, applied light make-up, and pulled on her outfit. Her chestnut colored hair hung halfway down her back, her deep blue eyes framed with long black lashes, and her plump lips coated with clear gloss. Her outfit was simple, yet professional. She had on her black pencil skirt, a gray loose fitted shirt slightly tucked in, and a teal colored necklace. She had a pair of high heels that matched her jewelry, tying her outfit all together.
As she entered the kitchen, she eyed the clock and began to rush. She started the coffee machine and placed a slice of bread in the toaster. While she waited for one of them to finish, she pulled out her new thermal mug and strawberry preserves from the fridge. The moment her toast popped up, she took it out, spread the preserves over it, and quickly ate it. When the liquid goodness was ready, she poured as much as she could into her mug and added a little cream and sugar. She stirred it all together before capping it and heading toward the front of her house.
The keys to her car were hanging up next to the door, along with her purse. Another step she had taken last night to prepare for her very early first day. She grabbed both on her way out and managed to make it to her car without dropping anything. With her coffee in the cup holder, purse on driver’s side seat, and key in ignition, she was finally ready. A final yawn tore through her as her finger pressed the garage door opener. Her eyes lazily watching the large white door roll up, allowing her to pull out. Once safely out of the garage, she hit the button again to shut it. She took a huge swig of her coffee, the hot liquid deliciously burning her throat, then she headed to the bank.
Thankfully, the building wasn’t too far from her house. It took her about ten minutes to pull into the parking lot. Assuming the company would want customers to have the closer parking spots, she parked in the back. Her heels tapped against the cracked black top, her coffee and purse in hand as she hurried over to the front door. The manager who had hired her, Garrett Humradge, was standing by the door to let her in. While the hair on his head was brown, his beard had started to turn gray. It was the only thing that had given away his age. His smile was always warm and welcoming, his bright blue eyes sparkling whenever he spoke to her.
“Good morning, Ms. Chambers.” His arm stretched out to hold the door open for her.
“Good morning, Mr. Humradge.” Rose smiled back at the man, thanking him for holding the door.
“You look tired.” His voice full of concern as he let the door shut. “You won’t have to be here this early on normal days. I apologize for making training so early.”
“Oh no! It’s okay.” She laughed softly, a feeble attempt to lighten the mood. “I made sure I brought coffee.” She smiled, signaling to her thermos and taking another sip.
Garrett smile returned as her lead her into the building. She noticed he locked each door they went through. They made it to the back end of the bank where two private desks sat. One was Garrett’s and the other was for a short haired blonde woman. Rose gawked at her, the woman really knew how to put herself together. Her make-up was perfectly layered while her clothes were crisp and expensive looking. She made Rose feel as though her clothes were cheap and unsophisticated. This woman seemed to be about 5 inches taller than Rose and a couple years older than her, but not as old as Garrett.
“Hello.” A light smile touched her pink lips. “My name is Nova Kline.” She held out a hand for Rose to shake.
“Rose Chambers, it’s nice to meet you Ms. Kline.” She gently shook her hand, noticing how nicely manicured the lady’s fingers were.
“Please, drop the formality. Just call me Nova.” Her smile widened, already warming up to Rose.
“Nova and I are going to go over a few basic things with you. Once we open for the day, I’ll have you shadowing Nova. You’ll probably do that for a day or two, just to make sure you really get the hang of things. Does that sound good?”
“Oh yes, absolutely.” Rose nodded in agreement, her lips sipping at her coffee once more.
“Perfect. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask either of us.” Garrett gave her a final smile, then walked over to his desk. “Nova, can you show her around for me? I need to get a few things together for Rose’s file.”
“Sure.” Nova walked around her desk and looked at Rose. “This way, dear.” She motioned for Rose to follow her.
The beautiful blonde lead Rose to a large vault at the very back of the building. The giant metal circular door was shut and tightly secured in place. She noticed the lock on the door was much different from the locks on all the other doors. This one not only needed a key, but also had a pad for a code to be punched in. Rose had seen vaults like this in action movies but didn’t realize just how big they actually were. Nova cleared her throat and swiveled around to speak to her.
“This is where we keep everything important. Money, documents, bonds.” Rose noticed she didn’t open the vault. “Over here is where you’ll start.”
Nova lead her back the way they came and over to the booths closer to the front of the building. This was where the customers would come up to either withdrawal or deposit money, cash checks, open or close accounts, or any other questions they may have. As they stepped closer to the desks, Rose noticed that all the screens were black. Nova froze for a moment when she noticed this, then rushed over to the closest computer and started tapping on the keyboard. Her right hand frantically grabbing at the mouse and started shaking it around. Rose stared at her, confused by what was going on.
“What’s wrong?” Rose tilted her head slightly to the side, her eyes on the blank computer screen.
“This shouldn’t be off. I can’t even get it to turn on.” She was pushing buttons on the side of the computer, pressing everything on the keyboard, anything to get the screen to do something.
Rose moved closer to Nova, the corner of her eye catching movement by the entrance. She glanced toward the doors but didn’t see anything. She told herself it was lack of sleep, no need to get paranoid. It was simply her mind playing tricks on her. She refocused on the screen Nova was frantically trying to turn on.
“Why is it so important for those to be on right now?” Rose took a nervous sip of her coffee, which was now halfway gone.
“They are connected to the security system that monitors the inside and outside of the building. Even if the power were to go out, these systems would still be on. They are run off a completely different generator. If these are off, someone has been tampering with them.”
Rose thought back to the movement she thought she saw only seconds ago. Her mind concocting all different scenarios, all of them crazier than the last. She forced herself to take a deep breath. Maybe a maintenance man was working on the system and had forgotten to tell Nova or Garrett. It would explain the systems being turned off and even the movement she thought she saw. She hoped it was that simple, but her warning bells told her something else.